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Shrink Rap
Ramis and Crystal Analyze 'Analyze This'

The first job director Harold Ramis had out of college was in a locked psychiatric ward as an attendant. "I wrestled people to the ground and cleaned their excrement off the walls," he says. "This really prepared me for working with actors."

It also helped acquaint him with the world of psychotherapy -- the milieu of his new movie, "Analyze This." It's the story of a shrink (Billy Crystal) who finds himself with an unwanted patient -- a panic-ridden mob boss played by Robert De Niro.

De Niro and Crystal didn't smear waste on the walls, but Ramis was worried he might have to do a little wrestling them to the ground in order to blend their disparate acting styles. But in fact, everything proceeded smoothly from the start. He first met DeNiro at lunch, in a deserted Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica. "I was excited about meeting him, but it's not Al Capone walking over with a baseball bat," Ramis says. "He's just a guy my age wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a leather jacket."

Says Billy Crystal: "People kept asking me before we started filming 'Is Robert De Niro going to be funny?' And I said yeah, I always knew he would be funny. In many ways we are the same. We both come from New York, we talk the same -- it just fit!"

-- Sean Doorly
(Written for Premiere Online)